LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Detectives with the Cold Case Unit have tracked down a murder suspect in California.
The sheriff's office says the suspect has been on the run for nearly 30 years. James Edward Sims, 56, was taken into custody by Lee County detectives at his home in Lakewood, California. He had been living there under an assumed name. Sims is charged with the murder of Roy Radabaugh on January 18, 1981 in the parking lot of what was then the Fox Den Lounge on Fowler Street in Fort Myers. Sims allegedly shot Radabaugh execution style during an argument over a woman. Radabaugh was 29 years old at the time.
Sims was identified as a suspect, but by then had skipped town. He was subsequently able to assume a new identity and a new life in California.
Detectives say they used a thumb print on Sims' California driver license to positively identify him. They then flew to California to stake out his residence and took him into custody this morning.
"This is a significant apprehension," says Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott. "Even though this murder happened 29 years ago, the victim's family has not forgotten and we have not forgotten."
Lt. Bill Kalstrom, a supervisor with the Cold Case Unit, calls the arrest "very rewarding. This is the perfect example of the type of case this Unit was set up for."
Sims is charged with first degree murder. He is awaiting first appearance in California (on Tuesday July 6th). From then, the extradition process will be determined.